Kent Conrad (D-NJ) even went on ABC's This Week to say that, despite having a 60-vote majority, Democrats couldn't pass this bill alone; he didn't explain how he came to this stunningly ridiculous conclusion.
But that only shows the blindness of some Democrats. Because the Republicans have already admitted that they want to defeat healthcare, not because they think it would be bad for the country, but because they want to defeat Obama. They openly do not care about the welfare of the American people; the GOP feels that they need to defeat a popular president because they disagree with his ideology.
That is the definition of a partisan hack.
And the Republican efforts are the reason that the current healthcare bill is going to fail. In an effort to be "bipartisan," and to make compromises to ensure that doctors wouldn't face a "pay cut," the House bill includes essentially a $245 billion chunk of payola to the healthcare industry. Well, guess what? If one of the reasons that we need to revamp the healthcare is because medical costs are out of control, then we have to cut medical costs.
While we're at it, why is anybody worried about the insurance companies in all this? As a former executive in CIGNA testified before Congress last week, they've been defrauding us all along.
At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care. Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."In other words, the insurance companies use tactics that are illegal in any other industry: they bait-and-switch, they lie, they steal. And they're struggling with every ounce of energy they have to ensure that they can keep right on doing it.
The star witness at the hearing was a former public relations executive for major health insurers whose testimony boiled down to this: Don't trust the insurers.
"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.
Potter said he worries "that the industry's charm offensive, which is the most visible part of duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns, may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans."
Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.
Mitch McConnell (R-KY) likes to say (and a lot of brainless idiots like to repeat) that Americans don't want their healthcare "denied, delayed or rationed." But under the current system, it already is.
The latest Gallup poll shows that 16% of Americans have no health insurance at all (that's up from 14.8% only 18 months ago). With a current population estimate of 307,212,123, that's 49 million people uninsured. Now, you can add to that the underinsured. As of 2007 (and you can do the math yourself to figure out how much these numbers have increased since then), there were 25 million underinsured adults in the United States.
Much of this growth comes from the ranks of the middle class. While low-income people remain vulnerable, middle-income families have been hit hardest. For adults with incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $40,000 per year for a family), the underinsured rates nearly tripled since 2003...Sorry, Mitch, but that means that we have at least 74 million Americans whose healthcare is denied, delayed and rationed.
Respondents were identified as underinsured if they spent 10 percent of more of their income (or 5 percent if they were low-income) on out-of-pocket medical expenses, or if they had deductibles that equaled 5 percent or more of their income. An estimated 14 percent of all nonelderly adults were underinsured in 2007, and more than one of four were uninsured for all or part of the year. Adding these two groups together, 75 million adults—42 percent of the under-65 population—had either no insurance or inadequate insurance in 2007, up from 35 percent in 2003.
Lack of adequate insurance coverage, the study finds, is not a problem limited to low-income people. Adults with incomes below the poverty level were at the highest risk of being uninsured or underinsured, but "insurance erosion has spread up the income distribution well in to the middle-income range," the authors say. For those with annual incomes of $40,000 to $59,000, the underinsured percentage rate reached double digits in 2007. Barely half of those with incomes of 200 percent to 299 percent of the poverty level were insured all year with adequate coverage.
1 in 5 Americans have delayed or postponed medical care, usually because they couldn't afford it. And 60% of US bankruptcies are due to medical bills which have spiraled out of control.
More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts...And rising healthcare costs are also costing us jobs. A study by the nonprofit Rand Corporation gave us the bad news there:
"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote. "Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."
Economy-wide, a 10% increase in excess health care costs growth would result in about 120,800 fewer jobs, $28 billion in lost revenues, and $14 billion in lost GDP value.Our Republican friends like to claim that all Americans already have access to health care: "After all, you just go to an emergency room." (GW Bush, 2007)
But that argument is a non-starter, too.
In every minute of every day, on average, an ambulance carrying a patient is turned away from a hospital because its emergency room is too full to take more patients...So, ignoring all of the hot air being blown around by partisan hacks who get most of their campaign money from the healthcare industry, America can't afford not to have healthcare reform.
Many emergency rooms barely can handle their daily patient loads, children don't always get good care and the quality of rescue services is erratic, the report says. Long waits for treatment are widespread, with ambulances sometimes waiting for hours to unload patients. Once in the emergency room, patients sometimes wait for up to two days before being admitted to a hospital bed....
The study cited three contributing problems to the rise in emergency room visits: the aging of the baby boomers, the growing number of uninsured and underinsured patients, and the lack of access to primary care physicians.
The report found that 114 million people, including 30 million children, visited emergency rooms in 2003, compared with 90 million visits a decade ago. In that same period, the number of U.S. hospitals decreased by 703, the number of emergency rooms decreased by 425, and the total number of hospital beds dropped by 198,000, mainly because of the trend toward cheaper outpatient care, according to the report.
The good news is, another partisan hack (Governor Rick "Goodhair" Perry of the "great" state of Texas) recently said that he'd turn down universal healthcare for his state. And that, by itself, may just allow the program to work. Texas has the highest number of uninsured citizens, and ties with Iowa for having the eleventh fattest state (which might just explain why it ranks 16th for the most deaths caused by stroke). If we can get Texas out of the equation, healthcare may just pay for itself.